Solo Acoustic Guitarist | African and Contemporary | Composer and Performer

Solo Acoustic Guitarist, Composer, Arranger and Performer



“Toumani Diabate had also invited the South African musician Derek Gripper (to The Acoustik Festival Bamako) who arranges kora music for classical guitar…Gripper is more used to performing in hushed institutions like Carnegie Hall in New York and King’s Place in London (where he plays this June). Here the audience clapped excitedly as soon as he began to play.” [Fluer Macdonald, The Economist]

“Five stars…Gripper has brilliantly transferred [the kora] repertoire onto a regular six string guitar. He sees [Toumani] Diabaté as the Segovia, or indeed John Williams, of the kora, championing it as a solo instrument. And Gripper brilliantly takes it back to the guitar. He’s opening a whole new repertoire of classical guitar music…bringing African guitar into the classical mainstream.” [Simon Broughton]

“Gripper has cracked it…his playing has a depthless beauty, which does full justice to the complexity of Toumani’s compositions. To do so without any hint of the music being dumbed down is a staggering achievement on solo guitar.” [Nigel Williamson, Songlines Magazine]

“More than a labour of love, Gripper has brought a new purity to the dream-like improvisatory nature of these compositions. My recording of the year, so far!” [Tim Panting, Classical Guitar Magazine]

”The result is astounding, not just for its technical brilliance, but its musicality. Gripper executes these pieces with the precision and attention to detail one might expect from a great classical musician…It’s hard to imagine a more impressive and passionate rendering of Malian music on classical guitar.” [Banning Eyre, Afropop Worldwide]

“A true synthesis and a great album.” [Ian Kearey, fRoots]


Performing on BBC Radio 4 Loose Ends (with John Cleese being interviewed on the same show) 

Performing Jarabi – Toumani Diabate’s Mandé classic – at the launch of One Night on Earth at the Slave Church in Cape Town.


ORDER THE CD or download the digital album here…

Derek Gripper - One Night on Earth: Music from the Strings of Mali


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